DRIVING TIME: 4 hours
HWY: CA 1—CA 151—CA 21—CA 152
As mentioned above, you will come across several checkpoints traveling away from the Nicaraguan border. Show the officials the necessary paperwork, and you should have no problems.
From Penas Blancas follow the signs to Liberia. In Liberia, you can fill your gas tank and stomach before continuing to Tamarindo. In the center of town, turn right at the major intersection and follow the signs to Tamarindo. This same route will take you to Coco Beach, Playa Junquillal, Samara, Nicoya, or any other location on the Nicoya Peninsula. There are so many great places to explore on the Nicoya Peninsula.
If you wish to see a National Park while in Costa Rica, make it Santa Rosa National Park. The park is between Penas Blancas and Liberia, about 45 minutes from the border and 35k north of Liberia. The beach is unimaginably beautiful. Wildlife is abundant in the park, and there are camping facilities and cabanas for rent. There is also a cooking facility providing meals for a fee.
There are three alternative routes leaving Tamarindo for locations further south. Depending on how far on to the Nicoya Peninsula you have traveled, you may either (1) work your way back to Liberia and continue south from the city; (2) take the short ferry at the northern Golfo de Nicoya; or (3) travel by ferry at the southern end of the Nicoya Peninsula to Puntarenas.
Hotel & Eats
Along the Nicoya Peninsula, in the middle of a forest and near a wild beach, you can find the Howler Monkey Hotel. It is the best place if you want to admire and appreciate the rich flora and fauna of Costa Rica, where you can even hear some howling monkeys during your stay. Although, do take note that this rustic accommodation may not fit well for those who do not love insects and animals. But if you are staying, do not forget to say hi to some iguanas, birds, and monkeys.
If you’re well on to the Nicoya Peninsula, you may want to take the ferry. It can sometimes take much longer than you anticipated. The ferry operator will wait until the ferry is full before leaving the port, and there is frequently a long line of cars waiting to cross—ordinarily more than can fit on the ferry, so get there early.
The ferry sailing from the Nicoya Peninsula to Puntarenus departs from Playa Naranjo. There are three to five daily departures, and the travel takes between 1-2 hours. Check departure times by calling Conatramar at 661-1069.
Next Section of Drive
Costa Rica Border – Jaco & South